I’m excited to have Jessica from Freckles and Dirt here to guest post for me today! I just met Jessica a month or two ago, but already feel like we have known each other for years (especially since she addressed me as “Court” in an email this week…and only uber-cool close friends do that).
She’s a fellow photoshop and design junkie who’s constantly changing up her blog. We are kindred spirits. And that fact was all the more affirmed when she sent me this post:
You know those times when you get advice from someone about your parenting skills or something that your baby is or isn’t doing and you so did not ask for it? Yeah, I think we have all experienced it and whether it’s a close relative or someone you do not know at all, I think we can all agree that it’s annoying!
It starts when you’re pregnant. “Don’t eat too much, you’ll have a big baby.” “You’re going to breastfeed, right?” “When he’s born, don’t spoil him to being held, you’ll always have to hold him.” The list is continuous and different for everybody but just as equally unsolicited.
When I was pregnant with my baby boy everyone insisted on giving me advice but, for the most part, it was fairly welcomed because I knew it was coming from a place of been-there-done-that. There was one person in particular though that gave me the same advice every.single.day. She was a co-worker (former co-worker now) and about three months ahead of me in pregnancy and boy did she know it all. When I was nauseous, “Oh, it gets worse.” When I was too fat for regular clothes and not big enough for maternity, “It only gets worse.” When I was miserably humongous, you guessed it, “Don’t worry, it only gets worse.” If there is one thing worse than complete unsolicited advice, it’s unsolicited repetitive advice from someone who so obviously loathed being pregnant. It got to be a big joke in the office, people would hear her say it to me, because it literally happened multiple times per day, and would completely die laughing and she oblivious.
(Oh and let me just say that I was only nauseous for about 2.2 seconds in my pregnancy so that part didn’t get worse, I was only in the awkward “can’t fit into clothes stage” for about a week so that didn’t get worse and I only made it to 36 weeks so I never got totally humongous so, yeah, that one didn’t get worse either. Pretty much every.single.thing she ever said that about never got worse. She was wrong and annoying and it turns out that she was throwing me under the bus every chance she got so that I wouldn’t get a promotion too, but hey, that’s a whole other story.)
Once Little Man was born the advice kept coming. “Feed him on demand.” “Don’t feed him too often.” “Don’t let him be out in the air too much, he’ll catch colic.” “Give him cereal in a bottle to help him sleep.” “Don’t give him a paci.” “Give him a paci.” “Let him cry it out.” “He’s getting too big, you need to stop letting him nurse so much.” “Give him peanut butter, it won’t hurt him, those doctors are crazy.” “He doesn’t need to be eating table food yet.” “You need to give him more table food.” Oh, and my personal favorite, “He needs to learn to like gravy.” Seriously? Give it up people! The advice you’re giving is just giving us “new” moms something to make jokes about at the playgroup!
Sure, there were/are times when I wanted advice and I asked for it but odds are, if I don’t ask, I don’t want it. I love the people who think that they did such a great job with their children that they have to pass their wonderful knowledge on to everyone else so that all children can be like theirs. The funny part is, those are normally the children you want your child to be least like.
The sad part is, I think it’s part of being a parent, it’s just that some people don’t have a filter for it. Now, I am the world’s worst filtered person but I’m getting better at using my God-given filter, I promise. When it comes to giving parenting advice I keep my loud mouth s.h.u.t. I mean sure, if you’re among friends you’re naturally going to say things like, “Take it from me, don’t ever start letting them sleep in your bed.” That’s normal, no one will hate you for that. But when you give a total stranger in the grocery store advice like, “If you’d feed him before you came in he wouldn’t scream like that”, it’s trouble (and if you’re wondering, that advice was totally given to me by a check-out lady at Walmart once, don’t worry, I gave her a little “advice” of my own).
Moral of the story; nobody likes unwanted advice, especially about parenting.
Here are a few tips to help us all with this:
· If you’re tempted to tell a stranger something about their kid that you know nothing about, hold it in.
· If you are giving an in-law advice, just don’t. In-law advice is one of the worst there is, nobody wants their in-law(s) to be right.
· If you are a cashier at the grocery store, do not give advice to the parents of bratty kids (or sleepy babies), talk about them later if want but not to their face.
· Likewise, if you are a customer, don’t give other customers advice but feel free to tell the cashier what she’s doing wrong…trust me, it’ll make you feel better!
· And the cardinal rule, only distribute advice if asked. Nobody wants to be known as the annoying “It only gets worse” lady on someone’s blog!
What are some of your favorite “pieces of advice”?
I know we’ve all been there…gotten that “advice” that wasn’t sought out. What are some of the funniest or most offensive or most uncalled for bits of advice you’ve received about parenting (or even marriage!) in your life? Feel free to share in the comments! Be sure to head over to Jessica’s Blog and say hi!